Use of allometry in predicting anatomical and physiological parameters of mammals

Stan L. Lindstedt, P. J. Schaeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

192 Scopus citations


One challenge for veterinarians, animal facilities and research scientists is the making of physiological estimates appropriate to a variety of species for which data are often either completely lacking or are incomplete. Our intent in compiling the data in this paper is to provide the best possible database of normal physiological and anatomical values primarily (though not exclusively) for four common mammalian model species: mouse, rat, dog and man. In order to make those data as accessible and applicable as possible, we have presented the results of this study in the form of body-size dependent allometric equations in which some variable (Y) is expressed as a dependent function of body mass (M) in the power-law equation, Y=aMb. By compiling these data, it is apparent that the resultant equations are quantitatively grouped (with similar slope or 'b' values). These emergent patterns provide insights into body-size dependent 'principles of design' that seem to dictate several aspects of design and function across species among all mammals. In general, the weights of most individual organs scale as a constant fraction of body mass (i.e. the body mass exponent, b≅1.0). Biological rates (e.g. heart rate, respiratory rate) scale as b≅-1/4. Finally, volume-rates (the product of volume and rate) such as cardiac output, ventilation and oxygen uptake vary as b≅3/4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalLaboratory Animals
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Laboratory animals
  • Physiological time
  • Predictions
  • Scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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